Ellison commits to Java

SAN FRANCISCO – Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison assured an audience of Java developers on Tuesday that the company will continue to invest and accelerate those investments in Java after it acquires Sun Microsystems Inc.

The company is “committed to see JavaFX exploited throughout Oracle and Sun,” said Ellison during the opening keynote at Sun’s 14th annual JavaOne conference. Oracle’s middleware and the business applications that run on it are based entirely on Java. “Java was a very attractive platform for us because it is open and allowed us to extend the platform,” said Ellison. It will be attractive for customers and the Java community as well, he said, because “this will be a market for you to sell into.”

In April, Oracle announced plans to acquire Sun Microsystems.

Among the announcements made at JavaOne was the unveiling of a Java Store and Warehouse in private beta to help developers distribute their desktop applications through a storefront. Basically, developers create content and submit it to the warehouse for distribution in the store, the idea being to reach customers among the 800 million consumers using Java on their Web-connected desktops.

“It’s to give the Java developer who has a great idea access to 1 billion consumers,” said Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz. Monetization remains the unfinished part of the Java Store as Sun remains undecided on how to proceed. In the meantime, the service will remain free to developers.

Eventually, the Java Store will distribute applications for mobile and TV platforms as well. The store presents an opportunity for distribution packages with partners like Microsoft Corp.

Sun also released JavaFX version 1.2 along with a common user interface library to quicken application development with access to features like buttons and sliders. Sun also previewed JavaFX TV that follows the availability of JavaFX Desktop last December and JavaFX Mobile last February. The Java Standard Edition (SE) 6 has been updated with many performance enhancements. Pieces of the GlassFish Portfolio have been updated to include enhancements to LAMP and the Portal technology as well as support for the Java Enterprise Edition (EE) 6 preview that was also announced today. Sun unveiled an early preview of JavaFX authoring tool to tighten collaboration between designers and developers and help the company reach those not so familiar with Java.

Jeet Kaul, senior vice-president for Java technology at Sun, said the preview release of JavaFX TV is “the third screen of our story” with JavaFX on desktop and mobile being the other two. Kaul dismissed the thought that Sun might be shifting its focus from the enterprise with the “very aggressive focus” on the client side with JavaFX on mobile and TV, but he said the company remains committed to the enterprise and that it is merely catching up on the client side. “The server side stuff is critically important and we spend a lot of time investing on that,” said Kaul.

In terms of where Sun sees JavaFX TV headed, Kaul said the vision is for seamless integration between TV, Web and desktop providing developers a “triple play” without major rewrite of the code for different platforms. “That interaction is where the power of JavaFX will be unleashed,” he said, adding that the current practice is for a person to watch TV while browsing the Internet to learn more about the show they are watching.

Piscataway, N.J.-based Bluenog, a developer of tools to integrate proprietary and open source technologies, was an exhibitor at JavaOne’s pavilion. Co-founder and chief operating officer Scott Barnett said Ellison’s announcement to continue investment in Java is definitely a good move for Oracle given its many Java-based products, but he’s not certain the Java community is at the heart of that decision.

“There are a lot of developers who work at Oracle so they have a pretty good community themselves,” said Barnett. “Whether they care about all the different open source communities and what’s important to them … there are probably some differences there.

“Time will tell in terms of what they actually do,” he said. “But I do think they will invest.”

Also showcasing at JavaOne’s pavilion was JetBrains, a developer of Java-integrated development environment tools based in the Czech Republic. Marketing director Ann Oreshnikova was pleased to hear of Oracle’s plans for continued investment in Java, but had never feared that anything “crucial” would come to the community should that investment not happen. At the very worst, said Oreshnikova, the evolution of Java might have slowed down a bit.

She trusts Oracle will follow through with its commitment to Java. “I don’t see any reasons for Larry to come to the Java conference to announce his intention just to fool people,” said Oreshnikova.

JavaOne runs Tuesday through Friday this week. Sun Microsystems announced yesterday at its CommunityOne event OpenSolaris version 2009.06.

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